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WAFLA announces new CEO, staff changes

The Washington farm labor association WAFLA has hired a new CEO and four other people in key jobs. Dan Fazio will remain in top position as director.
Dan Wheat

Capital Press

Published on March 8, 2018 9:08AM

Last changed on March 8, 2018 9:53AM

Dan Wheat/Capital Press File
One of several buses WAFLA hires to bring H-2A visa guestworkers from Mexico to work in Washington orchards and farms. The organization has announced the hiring of a new CEO and several other staffers.

Dan Wheat/Capital Press File One of several buses WAFLA hires to bring H-2A visa guestworkers from Mexico to work in Washington orchards and farms. The organization has announced the hiring of a new CEO and several other staffers.

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Mohamed Dobashi, the new WAFLA CEO.

Courtesy WAFLA

Mohamed Dobashi, the new WAFLA CEO.


OLYMPIA — An executive of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development in Doha, Qatar, has been hired as the new chief executive officer of the Washington farm labor association, WAFLA.

Mohamed Dobashi will start work March 19 at the WAFLA office in Lacey, Wash., and handle daily operations, including WAFLA’s flagship program of hiring H-2A-visa foreign guestworkers for Washington orchards and farms, said Kim Bresler, WAFLA spokeswoman.

Dan Fazio, who has been director and CEO, will continue in the top position as director overseeing the CEO, Bresler said.

WAFLA announced the hiring of Dobashi and four other new management employees and the departure of three managers in its March 6 newsletter.

WAFLA Board Chairman Stacy Gilmore, marketing director of Cameron Nursery north of Pasco, did not return a Capital Press call seeking comment.

According to Bloomberg and StrateSphere, a business development firm of which Dobashi is a partner, Dobashi has been chief operations officer of Amlak Holding, a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation. He was responsible for finance, administration, legal, information technology and human resources.

He has also been chief operations officer of Al-Faisal Holding Co. responsible for its subsidiaries, business development and local investments.

Dobashi was also an associate professor and associate dean at Carnegie Mellon University’s Qatar Campus.

Dobashi has a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, a master’s degree in business administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is part of Arizona State University, and a double bachelor’s degree in economics and international business from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

WAFLA used a professional recruiter to advertise its position and Dobashi responded, Bresler said, adding that he was well vetted.

According to the WAFLA newsletter, Dobashi will assume some of the duties of former COO George Zanatta, who left on Feb. 28 to start a business in Mexico to train workers for the H-2A program.

Rick Anderson, special projects director, retired at the end of January, and Heri Chapula, Kennewick field services director, is leaving about March 15 to work for a Tri-Cities-area agricultural employer.

Chapula is replaced by David Guzman, who started Feb. 1 as Kennewick field services manager. Guzman will manage WAFLA’s Kennewick training center and run a new program training workers on pesticide standards. Guzman previously worked for WAFLA and most recently worked for Mar-Jon Labor, an Othello, Wash., labor contractor.

Jeff McLean started March 1 in a new position as WAFLA Wenatchee Field Services Director. He has more than 35 years in orchard and agricultural management.

Steve Davis, WAFLA’s certified public accountant and auditor since WAFLA’s inception in 2007, on Dec. 1 became the chief financial officer.

Amber St. Aubin started Oct. 16 as human resource manager. She has more than eight years of experience in human resources and is working on a master’s degree in international management.



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